Perdue wants to shrink NC government

NC Governor Beverly Perdue (Steve Helber)
December 9, 2010 8:48:56 PM PST
Governor Beverly Perdue said Thursday she wants to shrink state government by reducing 14 high level functions to eight.

She also called for a hiring freeze of non-critical positions in all of her cabinet agencies and asked Council of State and other agencies to do the same.

"State government must seize this opportunity to become a more streamlined, focused enterprise," she said. "We must be leaner, more nimble, more responsive to citizens and less bureaucratic as we focus our limited resources on our core missions."

Perdue's smaller government plan includes consolidating and privatizing some departments. The departments of Juvenile Justice, Correction and Crime Control, and Public Safety would merge into one Department of Public Safety.

The Department of Commerce would take in the Employment Security Commission and together will strengthen a focus on stabilizing the economy, growing jobs, and preparing workforce.

The Dept of Administration would be renamed and refocused. The new Dept of Management and Administration would become the chief operations unit for state government and would take in ITS, the Office of State Personnel and Controller’s Office.

By moving ITS, up to 100 computer service units would be closed and a private company would contract with the state to consolidate IT services into a centralized location, saving money and providing better service.

Purchasing functions currently scattered throughout state government would be consolidated and privatized to find savings through bulk purchasing and coordinated bid requests.

Perdue said these changes alone will save tens of millions of dollars and result in leaner personnel rosters.

"My priorities are simple: jobs for our people, investments in our children through a strong education system, and setting government straight," said Perdue.

The Governor's plan includes eliminating "back office functions" such as human resources, purchasing, training and administration. She said specifics would come in out in her budget proposal.

Perdue announced her proposals to Sandhills business leaders Thursday afternoon in Pinehurst.

The Democratic governor has been talking for months about how to make government more efficient and eliminate waste and duplicative functions.

The last state government reorganization occurred in 1996. The last significant attempt to consolidate government departments failed in 1995 when Republicans balked at Gov. Jim Hunt’s proposal to eliminate the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety.

A governor can make some changes without legislative approval.

Governor Perdue says state law does not permit her to go into an elected official's office and eliminate positions but she’s going to ask the General Assembly to change that.

North Carolina faces a budget shortfall in the billions for the next fiscal year, and the new Republican majority in the legislature has vowed to close the gap with cuts - not tax increases.

Perdue said Thursday that her proposals could save the state tens of millions of dollars.

"Obviously there are going to be lots of cuts, blood in the streets, but we will not cripple education," she said.

See more about Perdue's proposals at her website: www.setgovernmentstraight.nc.gov

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